Introduction to Philosophy Paper

Introduction to Philosophy Paper

Paper Guidelines and Topics: Intro to philosophy

  1. No title page or title needed. YOUR NAME SHOULD NOT APPEAR ON THE FRONT OF THE PAPER.  Write your name in ink on the back of the paper.
  2. DO NOT type more than 1000 words, double spaced, 12 pt. You must turn in a hard copy. Do not email the paper to me.  The paper must be stapled, if necessary.
  3. No standard introductory paragraph needed. DO NOT include fluff like the following: “Humans have pondered morality for ages…” “Aquinas, a famous philosopher from a long time ago…” Remember, you have a small amount of space to get a lot done—don’t waste any space. Do not be repetitive.
  4. Be Clear! Reread your paper out loud. Rewrite your paper. Have a friend (preferably an English major) read the paper.
  5. You should write an outline (this is not mandatory but your paper will benefit from it). Introduction to Philosophy Paper
  6. Here’s is the structure I am looking for:

First Paragraph (This is a very important part of your paper.  If this paragraph is sloppy the rest of the paper will suffer.  This paragraph frames the entire paper):

Sentence 1: State the paper’s aim or thesis: e.g. In this paper I will argue that chocolate is better for overall health than vanilla.

Sentence 2: State the paper structure: i.e. I will defend the thesis by showing that chocolate increases brain power, creates more jobs, …

Sentence 3: This answers the SO WHAT? question.  What is the significance of your thesis? E.g. This means that the U.S. government should be putting more money into chocolate research, etc.

Body: Defend your thesis.  After you have defended your thesis you must raise an objection to your thesis.  Finally, reply to the objection raised.  If you are writing a paper that objects to some claim, then you need to raise an objection to your objection, and then reply to that objection.

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Conclusion: No more than a few sentences: what did we learn and why should we care.

  1. You can use the first person, but be very careful. Do not give me a list of what you believe. You must provide reasons for whatever it is you are arguing for.
  2. Make sure that you use words correctly.
  3. Don’t waste space with questions.
  4. If you quote, you must cite properly (I don’t care what format you use—e.g. MLA, Chicago, Turabian, APA, etc). If you paraphrase, you must cite properly. Better to be safe than sorry.  You should never quote more than two sentences at a time and you should not have many quotations in the paper.  Put it in your own words.  Please do not plagiarize; you will WILL fail the course.
  5. If you decide to write on something other than one of the suggestions I give below, you MUST get your topic approved by me (if I take too long to get back to you, then write on one of the suggestions below).
  6. Do not simply repeat. Make some of your own points. This is your opportunity to do some philosophy of your own.
  7. Here are a few possible paper topics: You may choose one of them.
  8. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: Moral subjectivism is true.
  9. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: God is necessary for ethical objectivism (that is, if EO is true, then God exists)
  10. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: God is not necessary for ethical objectivism (you will have to consider at least one objection to your view that Shafer-Landau does not consider)
  11. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: moral responsibility is incompatible with determinism Introduction to Philosophy Paper
  12. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: moral responsibility is compatible with determinism
  13. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: PAP is true
  14. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: PAP is false
  15. For any of the vices that we discuss in class, defend the following claim: Vice x is not really a vice.
  16. Defend the following: x is a vice that should be on the list of deadly sins (you must, obviously, explain what x is).
  17. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: Immortality is possible
  18. Defend the following claim by using argument(s) and responding to objections: Immortality is not possible

These are simply suggestions.  Don’t waste time trying to figure out what to write on. Pick one of the above and get going.  Of course, if you have a burning desire to write on something else, feel free to do so, but it MUST be approved by me.

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